Inner Michael » The Gift in the Mean Wind

The Gift in the Mean Wind

The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. . “

Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create — so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.” ~Pearl S. Buck

Celebrate (from Mirriam-Webster)

cel·e·brate verb \ˈse-lə-ˌbrāt\

Definition of CELEBRATE
transitive verb

1: to perform (a sacrament or solemn ceremony) publicly and with appropriate rites
2a : to honor (as a holiday) especially by solemn ceremonies or by refraining from ordinary business b : to mark (as an anniversary) by festivities or other deviation from routine
3: to hold up or play up for public notice
intransitive verb
1: to observe a holiday, perform a religious ceremony, or take part in a festival
2: to observe a notable occasion with festivities
— cel·e·bra·tion \ˌse-lə-ˈbrā-shən\ noun
— cel·e·bra·tive \ˈse-lə-ˌbrā-tiv\ adjective
— cel·e·bra·tor \-tər\ noun
— cel·e·bra·to·ry \-brə-ˌtȯr-ē, ˌse-lə-ˈbrā-tə-rē\ adjective


Synonyms: bless, carol, praise, emblazon, exalt, extol (also extoll), glorify, hymn, laud, magnify, resound

Antonyms: break, transgress, violate
Related Words: adore, belaud, deify, idolize, worship; acclaim, applaud, commend, compliment, hail, renown, salute; chant, cheer, eulogize, rhapsodize; cite; flatter; crack up, recommend, tout

Near Antonyms: blame, censure, reprehend, reprobate; criticize, reprove; admonish, chide, keelhaul, rebuke, reprimand, reproach; castigate, lambaste (or lambast)

“Celebrate” is the root of “Celebrity.” A Celebrity is someone “celebrated.”

Why is it so hard to truly celebrate someone? It seems easier to “celebrate” someone else than it is to celebrate self. Why is that? And we seem eager to “celebrate” someone who holds us spellbound, is “hot,” good looking, sexy, popular, someone who pleases us with the gift they bring to the world. We become enamored, held captive, and come close to worship. Until they displease us, that is.

And what happens then? They are vilified, stalked, bullied, dismembered by the press (torn limb from limb) considered “evil” and relegated to the lowest form of creature not even human. It’s vicious.

Are they the same person then? Are we? When we strip them of their humanity, do we strip ours as well? If you are a person of faith– any faith, then you know that the scripture of your faith says that whatever you do to others, you do to the holy one, and to the one who sent you. Whatever you do to your brothers and sisters, you do to the Creator. That’s pretty clear.

What does it say about humaninity engaged in a bullying campaign– in the shallow and shadow behavior? What does it say about you? When Michael Jackson penned the lyrics of “Tabloid Junkie” who do you think he was talking to? Who is “you” in the last line who is “so damn disrespectable?” Read the lyrics of the whole song in order. Then read the last line again. Who is the junkie? Who is “disrespectable?”

Why is it so hard to show gratitude for the gift that celebrities bring in their art? Why do we feel empowered to tear them down when they don’t please us? It’s projection– We project our unrealized selves onto celebrities, we conscript them to carry our dreams and as long as that makes us feel good, we cheer them. But let them violate some kind of fantasy rules or demands that we carry, that we make about them, and suddenly they are scum.

What is going on here? This isn’t about the celebrity– it’s about us. We project our idealized self (our own imaginary perfection,) our unfulfilled hopes and dreams, our cultural archetypes- the Hero, Eros and Logos cast onto the object (person) of our projected anger, or we see the reflection of our bright or dark shadow in the unsuspecting celebrity and we elevate them to pedestals or throw them under the bus. Those are illusions and they impose impossible demands, they ask something that is not humanly possible. And then when the celebrity fails to meet the impossible, the imposed standards, or when they demonstrate any form of humanness or fallibility, we set out to destroy them– “crucify the Lord” as Michael Jackson said. Yes, that is who is being dismembered and crucified because humanity is made in the image of.

Why is it so hard to celebrate the success of others when it’s not our own? Women who are immature find this impossible to do. The real-life Twilight saga saw women who are jealous and envious piling on a version of themselves– for that is who she represents– self. Pernicious jealousy does not become anybody.


“The Michael Jackson cacophony is fascinating in that it is not about Jackson at all. I hope he has the good sense to know it and the good fortune to snatch his life out of the jaws of a carnivorous success. He will not swiftly be forgiven for having turned so many tables, for he damn sure grabbed the brass ring, and the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo has nothing on Michael.

All that noise is about America, as the dishonest custodian of black life and wealth; the blacks, especially males, in America; and the burning, buried American guilt; and sex and sexual roles and sexual panic; money, success and despair–to all of which may now be added the bitter need to find a head on which to place the crown of Miss America.

Freaks are called freaks and are treated as they are treated–in the main, abominably–because they are human beings who cause to echo, deep within us, our most profound terrors and desires.” ~James Baldwin


We are pretty good at stepping into the darkness but the light evades us because we don’t look for it. Our cynical culture demands “don’t shine too brightly!” or “don’t shine too long” for if your light creates the illusion of my shame (you shame me when you shine,) I will hate you. I will then be compelled to destroy you. The darkness is the unloved self. It’s not Satan; it’s not bugga bugga; it’s not the end of the world– it is you not loving yourself enough so that you can unconditionally love others. Yes, that becomes hell. For everybody. For science tells us we are all plugged into the same wireless network.

The antidote is to embrace the woundedness of the unloved self. To LOVE that being into the light. Now duplicate that with everyone. Isn’t that a better pasttime than this one?

Jodie’s story sounds so familiar…


Jodie Foster Blasts Kristen Stewart–Robert Pattinson Break-Up Spectacle
(Reprinted under Creative Commons Copyright)
Originally published at The Daily Beast
Aug 15, 2012 4:45 AM EDT

Hurtful headlines. Prurient paparazzi. Fickle fans. Enough already! Jodie Foster defends a kid actor’s right to be a kid.
Written by Jodie Foster

We’ve all seen the headlines at the check-out counter. “Kristen Stewart Caught.” We’ve all thumbed the glossy pages here and there. “Kris and Rob a couple?” We all catch the snaps. “I like that dress. I hate the hair. Cute couple. Bad shoes.” There’s no guilt in acknowledging the human interest in public linens. It’s as old as the hills. Lift up beautiful young people like gods and then pull them down to earth to gaze at their seams. See, they’re just like us. But we seldom consider the childhoods we unknowingly destroy in the process.

I have been an actress since I was 3 years old, 46 years to date. I have no memories of a childhood outside the public eye. I am told people look to me as a success story. Often complete strangers approach me and ask, How have you stayed so normal, so well-adjusted, so private? I usually lie and say, “Just boring I guess.” The truth is, like some curious radioactive mutant, I have invented my own gothic survival tools. I have fashioned rules to control the glaring eyes. Maybe I’ve organized my career choices to allow myself (and the ones I truly love) maximum personal dignity. And, yes, I have neurotically adapted to the gladiator sport of celebrity culture, the cruelty of a life lived as a moving target. In my era, through discipline and force of will, you could still manage to reach for a star-powered career and have the authenticity of a private life. Sure, you’d have to lose your spontaneity in the elaborate architecture. You’d have to learn to submerge beneath the foul air and breathe through a straw. But at least you could stand up and say, I will not willfully participate in my own exploitation. Not anymore. If I were a young actor or actress starting my career today in the new era of social media and its sanctioned hunting season, would I survive? Would I drown myself in drugs, sex, and parties? Would I be lost?

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: if I were a young actor today I would quit before I started. If I had to grow up in this media culture, I don’t think I could survive it emotionally. I would only hope that someone who loved me, really loved me, would put their arm around me and lead me away to safety. Sarah Tobias would never have danced before her rapists in The Accused. Clarice would never have shared the awful screaming of the lambs to Dr. Lecter. Another actress might surely have taken my place, opened her soul to create those characters, surrendered her vulnerabilities. But would she have survived the paparazzi peering into her windows, the online harassment, the public humiliations, without overdosing in a hotel room or sticking her face with needles until she became unrecognizable even to herself?

Acting is all about communicating vulnerability, allowing the truth inside yourself to shine through regardless of whether it looks foolish or shameful. To open and give yourself completely. It is an act of freedom, love, connection. Actors long to be known in the deepest way for their subtleties of character, for their imperfections, their complexities, their instincts, their willingness to fall. The more fearless you are, the more truthful the performance. How can you do that if you know you will be personally judged, skewered, betrayed? If you’re smart, you learn to willfully disassociate, to compartmentalize. Putting your emotions into a safety box definitely comes in handy when the public throws stones. The point is to survive, intact or not, whatever the emotional cost. Actors who become celebrities are supposed to be grateful for the public interest. After all, they’re getting paid. Just to set the record straight, a salary for a given on-screen performance does not include the right to invade anyone’s privacy, to destroy someone’s sense of self.

In 2001 I spent 5 months with Kristen Stewart on the set of Panic Room mostly holed up in a space the size of a Manhattan closet. We talked and laughed for hours, sharing spontaneous mysteries and venting our boredom. I grew to love that kid. She turned 11 during our shoot and on her birthday I organized a mariachi band to serenade her at the taco bar while she blew out her candles. She begrudgingly danced around a sombrero with me but soon rushed off to a basketball game with the grip and electric departments. Her mother and I watched her jump around after the ball, hooting with every team basket. “She doesn’t want to be an actor when she grows up, does she?” I asked. Her mom sighed. “Yes … unfortunately.” We both smiled and shrugged with an ambivalence born from experience. “Can’t you talk her out of it?” I offered. “Oh, I’ve tried. She loves it. She just loves it.” More sighs. We watched her run around the court for a while, both of us silent, each thinking our own thoughts. I was pregnant at the time and found myself daydreaming of the child I might have soon. Would she be just like Kristen? All that beautiful talent and fearlessness … would she jump and dunk and make me so proud?

There’s this image I have of a perfect moment. It comes to me as a square format 8mm home movie with ’70s oversaturated reds and blues, no sound, just a scratchy loop … there’s a little white-haired girl twirling in the surf. She’s singing at the top of her lungs, jumping and spinning around in the cold water, all salty, sandy, full of joy and confidence. She’s unconscious of the camera, of course, in her own world. The camera shakes a little. Perhaps her mom’s laughing behind the lens. Could a child be more loved than in this moment? She’s perfect. She is absolutely perfect.

Cut to: Today … A beautiful young woman strides down the sidewalk alone, head down, hands drawn into fists. She’s walking fast, darting around huge men with black cameras thrusting at her mouth and chest. “Kristen, how do you feel?” “Smile Kris!” “Hey, hey, did you get her?” “I got her. I got her!” The young woman doesn’t cry. Fuck no. She doesn’t look up. She’s learned. She keeps her head down, her shades on, fists in her pockets. Don’t speak. Don’t look. Don’t cry.

My mother had a saying that she doled out after every small injustice, every heartbreak, every moment of abject suffering. “This too shall pass.” God, I hated that phrase. It always seemed so banal and out of touch, like she was telling me my pain was irrelevant. Now it just seems quaint, but oddly true … Eventually this all passes. The public horrors of today eventually blow away. And, yes, you are changed by the awful wake of reckoning they leave behind. You trust less. You calculate your steps. You survive. Hopefully in the process you don’t lose your ability to throw your arms in the air again and spin in wild abandon. That is the ultimate F.U. and—finally—the most beautiful survival tool of all. Don’t let them take that away from you.

Kristen and Jodie in “The Panic Room” 2002 Columbia Pictures, Everett Collection

If you go to the original article that Jodie Foster penned for the Daily Beast, in the comments you will find the same acerbic venom hat so viciously attacked Kristen now turned on Jodie herself. It will take your breath away. Much of it rehashes her defense of Mel Gibson who was once considered a young actor of Bogart’s stature.

Do we blame people for their cancer? Judge them for their messy, undesirable and ugly illnesses? Mel Gibson has Biploar disorder (Manic-Depression)- a mental illness that makes him prone to extreme mood swings. Blaming Gibson for mood swings, rants and erratic behavior is akin to blaming Michael Jackson for his Vitiligo.

But ours is a cynical unforgiving world. I had hoped to be a part of changing that. I had hoped that you were part of it too.

Jodie Foster is no stranger to PTSD herself (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and she carries the wounds of celebrity stalking and bullying. John Hinckley Jr. stalked Jodie Foster when she was a teen star and in college. He eventually attempted to assassinate President Reagan in order to “impress Jodie Foster.” At the trial where she was called to testify, when she passed the defense table where he was sitting, he threw his pen at her and yelled “I’ll get you, Foster!”


What is really telling, and I think frightening, is the next layer of manipulation by the media. I posted a comment that didn’t make it through moderation. That tells me that not only are the media putting out salacious tabloid stories, making stuff up about celebrities, fabricating news, releasing reports they know are false but they are committing the ultimate crime– editing out criticizm of their corruption.

That means that in addition to keeping the pressure on with complaining, you have to stop buying what they are peddling to you. Metaphorically and in the super market.

My comment?

“Anybody remember a woman named Lady Diana? Remember how and why she died?

Diana complained bitterly about the destruction of her marriage because there were too many people in it. Diana did not agree to exposure and exploitation by paparazzi or the press. Diana agreed to wed Charles, not… Camilla, the royal family, the Queen Mother, the press, the tabloids, the paparazzi, fans, admirers, the world… She died being chased by paparazzi exploiting her image for profit and tabloid headlines– and the world lost a humanitarian treasure only for greed that feeds this very kind of celebrity obsession.

There’s a mean wind blowing. A mean, cynical wind. How does it serve humanity (theirs and ours) to blame, judge and feel free to slam people who are recognized for a gift given them by their Creator… a gift that cannot be contained but insistently pushes from the inside and is destined to be shared (on demand) by that same Creator.

True talent and artistry is an involuntary slavery to a gift that will not be denied. To risk the vulnerability of sharing that gift with today’s fickle, demanding, unforgiving world with a 10 second attention span is a courageous act. (Comment section in evidence, I rest my case.) A celebrity’s performance offered is a gift given, not an entitlement nor a passport into their whole lives. But the “machine” counts on you to see it that way.

What mean-spirited envious “Tall Poppy Syndrome” bullying and bitterness lives here in the comments. It drives home the point of the article and Foster’s purpose in writing it.

The manipulation by tabloid and medialoid press is working! Their game is to create this (evidenced here) illusion of intimacy with celebrities so as to exploit them and engage YOU for profit. They know you project unfulfilled dreams on celebrities. They deliberately paint them as less-than-human so you feel comfortable making attack comments, judgments, and projecting your own mean shadow-self onto them. They count your “hits” to prove their popularity to their sponsors. It’s an infinity loop of manipulation and exploitation only for profit.

Seems to be working pretty well.”

~ Reverend B


*Private note to LW and KB: You will never know what you saved. Thank you.


  1. Beth said . . .

    Way to go Barbara! Why to go Jodie! Tell it like it is! The mean wind continues to blow and it’s the media that decides who we are to love and who we are to hate by the comments they allow to be posted! I was happy to read your unpublished one here.

    I am always shocked at the comments people feel they are entitled to make after reading an article. And I am also, sadly, not surprised that the comments allowed to be posted are attacking Jodie Foster. She has been attacked lately for many of her stances. Seems standing by a friend when they are in trouble is a crime (Mel Gibson). Strange, she used to be the “star” we grew up “knowing”. She used to be the one we all felt like protecting during the Hinckley tragedy. The wind blows and changes direction. And it’s been blowing hot and heavy and hateful at Jodie Foster lately.

    Kudos to both of you for speaking up! Our true voices of love deserve to be heard as well.

    Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Permalink
  2. gertrude said . . .

    Having stayed as far away from that idiot mess as possible, reading about it here only, I at least get to feel admiration for the response to it of both you and Ms. Foster, Rev. B, instead of merely being so beyond revolted by the rampaging malevolence turning its diseased eye toward Jodie and Kristen now.

    But I am done. Really done. I am defecting from the race, I don’t want to hear anything like this again ever about anybody, I’m out. What massive hypocrisy spews off at a 21 year old girl for a classic 21 year old’s “transgression” – the likes of which is so minor by comparison to the high jinks any 21 year old can and does get up to? Who the HELL has a leg to stand on making an issue out of something I SO wish I knew nothing about because it is so NOTHING?

    A lot of people are on the brink of starvation in Africa again. Remember the good old days when the media blitz would be about Michael and friends and Bob Geldolf and friends singing we are the world, feed the world? And all eyes would be trained on THESE events and people would be lining up to donate money to the cause, not to jump all over some young girl for something that was a) none of their business; b) something that talking about would bore them to death and c) something that wasn’t half as naughty as the mess they themselves had – probably repeatedly – gotten themselves into at 21?

    Posted August 25, 2012 at 12:21 am | Permalink
  3. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    I know G; I keep scanning the skies for the mother ship. My friends have always teased me that if the ship lands, I would get halfway up the gangplank and turn around and come back down because of my fierce convictions that there’s hope for humanity and more work to be done. It used to embarass me and make me laugh. Not any more.

    If they land tonight I won’t even look back. ~B

    Posted August 25, 2012 at 3:12 am | Permalink
  4. gertrude said . . .


    Posted August 25, 2012 at 3:54 am | Permalink
  5. victoria said . . .

    Please Barbara don’t leave us just yet, we need your guidance desperately although I must say I have been feeling the same of late……

    Posted August 27, 2012 at 1:45 am | Permalink

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